Here’s a roundup of news from the second day of our GDC 2018 coverage. We go hands-on with Budget Cuts, Google presents ARCore and Maps API-enabled apps, Squanch Games’ Daydream exclusive title announced, and Magic Leap talks about developing games for a spatial computing platform.
Hands-on with ‘Budget Cuts’
Developer Neat Corporation has resurfaced with stealth action game Budget Cuts, due for release on May 16th for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. We go hands-on with the latest build at GDC, which retains most of the core mechanics found in the impressive pre-alpha demo from 2016. The robots have been redesigned to be more imposing, and you have to be more accurate with your knife throwing if you want to take them down in one hit. Light and shadow plays a bigger role in the stealth system, and there are more objects to pick up and interact with.
Google highlights 4 ARCore apps
The ARCore SDK is enabling a wide range of AR apps on flagship Android smartphones, and Google highlighted two apps that launched this week and two coming later in the year. There is a new “which box?” feature on eBay’s app, which helps a seller calculate the size of packaging required for an item, and Google just launched mobile art app Just a Line, which allows video recording of simple spatial drawings. Planned for Q2 2018 is the Google Maps API-enabled The Walking Dead: Our World, and TendAR is a game arriving in July, involving a virtual fish that responds to facial expressions.
Google Maps API for game development
The Google Maps team has built an SDK that allows Google Maps geodata to be used in the Unity game engine. This allows for smartphone AR games to combine with real-world locations, taking the Pokémon Go (2016) style of game to the next level. The rich data available from Google Maps has incredible potential for game environment creation, particularly when combined with procedural rendering systems.
Squanch Games reveal exclusive Daydream game
Dr. Splorchy Presents: Space Heroes is the first in a series of games exclusive to Google’s Daydream VR platform from Squanch Games, formerly known as Squanchtendo. Little is known about the project so far, but fans of Rick and Morty will likely be drawn to its comedic style, as it comes from the mind of Justin Roiland, co-creator of the animated series.
Magic Leap talk on games and AI
Interaction Director Alessia Laidacker and Interaction Lab Director Brian Schwab from Magic Leap presented a talk on creating games for a spatial computing platform. It discussed high-level concepts relating to user context, as well as the important design elements for AR, and how AR characters need to behave. We expect a deeper dive into Magic Leap development on Thursday.